December 28, 2009

Cherokee language on Facebook

Cherokee language now on Facebook

By Christina Good VoiceCherokee speakers are starting to use popular Web sites to translate words, phrases and other parts of the language on the sites into Cherokee.

Cherokee Nation citizen Roy Boney is one of 14 translators on the social Web site Facebook who helps Cherokee people maintain ties to their culture by allowing speakers registered on the site to translate a glossary of common Facebook words and phrases. Their ultimate goal is to translate the entire site into Cherokee.

“As a citizen, I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for Cherokee to exist in a virtual space that’s a major part of the world community,” he said.

As of Dec. 17, there were 34,647 untranslated phrases on Facebook’s Cherokee translations page, 142 submitted translations and 14 active translators. Those translators are from areas in the CN jurisdiction, as well as Texas, California and other areas across the United States.
Comment:  Using social media to encourage language use is one of the methods I talked about at the Falmouth language summit in November. Glad to see someone else had the same idea.

December 26, 2009

Jana's American Indian Christmas

Christmas in 10 Native American Languages

By Monika EvstatievaFor weeks now, Christmas music has been playing everywhere—carols in the grocery store, holiday hits at Starbucks, and live music on the streets. But one artist has taken the holiday spirit in a different direction. Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Jana Mashonee recorded 10 traditional Christmas songs in 10 different Native American languages. The result is American Indian Christmas.

"I wanted to do something no one else has done. And so I thought maybe I can do a whole album in Native languages," Mashonee says, "And I thought I am crazy; I am doing it."
And:There are over 500 different Native American tribes in the United States, but Mashonee, a Lumbee-Tuscarora, says often the elders are the only keepers of the languages. She recorded the album to make the Native language more accessible and accepted.

"It is kind of a way to know that these languages are still living ... to be able to have the younger people in the tribes to know more about their language and accept it," Mashonee explains. "And, also for non-Native people to hear a Native language."
Below:  Jana Mashonee's latest album is called New Moon Born. (Carter James)

December 16, 2009

Barona gives dictionary to NMAI

Tribes presents dictionary to NMAIThe monumental 696-page Barona Inter-Tribal Dictionary was presented to the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) during Native American Heritage Month. The dictionary is comprised of thousands of familiar as well as long-lost words and phrases aimed at assisting Yuman language speakers of the San Diego County Tribes in revitalizing their traditional native tongue.

A revised and enhanced version of the original 48-page Barona dictionary project, the expansive and updated edition contains a number of innovative features such as history of the project, biographies of the main contributors and a map of the language area.
Below:  From left to right: Barona Tribal Chairman Edwin “Thorpe” Romero, Barona Tribal Councilwoman Beth Glasco, Larry Echo Hawk of the BIA and Barona Tribal Councilmember Charles “Beaver” Curo.

December 11, 2009

Cherokee Language Bowl

Tribe announces Language Bowl winnersRecently 14 teams from several area schools displayed their knowledge and understanding of the Cherokee language as they competed for top honors in the Cherokee Nation’s annual Cherokee Language Bowl.

Coordinated by the tribe’s Johnson-O’Malley program, the competition is designed to promote the study, use and retention of the Cherokee language in young people. It is open to schools in the tribe’s jurisdictional area to students in grades kindergarten through 12 who are eligible to participate in the JOM program.

“Our cultural competitions were developed for cultivating the ground for students of the JOM program to know and understand more of who they are and where they come from,” Shelley Butler-Allen, CN JOM program director, said. “The Cherokee language is a very critical element for a student’s self identity and tribal identity, so we feel like these competitions help plant the seed for them and for their future.”

December 08, 2009

Immersion class for Cherokee employees

Video:  Cherokee Nation employees immerse in tribe’s language

By Christina Good VoiceCherokee Nation citizen Carla Feathers has a father who speaks Cherokee fluently. Although she’s not fluent, she always wanted to learn the language.

Now thanks to an initiative by the tribe’s Language Strategic Work Team, Feathers and other CN employees can immerse themselves in the language with hopes of learning it.

On Oct. 1, the tribe replaced a 20-hour language class for employees with a 40-hour immersion class. All employees will be required to take it as part of a core curriculum, according to a CN Employee Development e-mail.
Below:  "Ed Fields, left, speaks to Cherokee Nation employees in Cherokee during a 40-hour immersion course employees are required to take. Fields is a Cherokee language instructor." (Photo by Roger Graham)

December 07, 2009

Quechua-language TV station

Quechua language TV hits the airwaves in Ecuador

By Rick KearnsTV MICC Channel 47 of Ecuador became the country’s first Quechua-language community television station in July; it’s operated by the Indigenous and Campesino Movement of Cotopaxi (MICC) and will air 60 percent of its programming in Quechua.

The new station is located in the city of Latacunga, in north central Ecuador in an Andean basin that has a large Quechua-speaking population and is near many other indigenous communities as well.

On July 17, TV MICC hit the airwaves for the first time and reached 400 communities in the provinces of Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Chimborazo and some parts of Pichincha and Pastaza in the east.

“We are interested in speaking about the earth and the water and about collective rights,” said MICC spokeswoman Maritza Salazar. “We want to make biographical documentaries to recover the historical memory of our men and women leaders. We want to speak about nature, and the struggles for water.”
Andean nations seek revival for ancient Inca tongue

By Walker SimonA shaman blows a bull's horn on festival day and pivots to clouds of burning incense in a purification ceremony, all shot on video.

The snapshot of native American life opens "Nukanchik Yuyay," a twice-daily newscast in Quechua, the language spoken by millions of people across the Andes and enjoying a revival as even presidents take up its cause.

The program's newscasters speak below a woolen tapestry of Cotopaxi, a glacier-capped volcano within sight of the station, Ecuador's channel 47. Besides the station's cameras, a wolf mask bares white fangs.

Based in Latacunga, 80 km (50 miles) south of Quito, Channel 47 says it is the world's first television station for Quechua speakers. On air since July, it features 30 percent Quechua programs and aims to go mostly monolingual as its audience increases.

"Our next project is Quechua cartoons ... to draw in children," says station manager Angel Tiban.

Language preservation using Twilight

A savvy Native language organization could spin Jacob Black's Quileute line in New Moon into an ad campaign. For details, see Language Preservation Using Twilight in my Newspaper Rock blog.

Below:  "I speak Quileute and 'Werewolf' too!"